What is causing these holes --that are also causing the hill to slide

Asked September 21, 2018, 11:25 AM EDT

Hi... I am attaching some pictures of holes that run up and down a row of young crabapple trees. It's difficult to assess whether the holes are deep (tunneling) or just some rather deep burrows. Any idea what is creating these holes? What purpose? How to stop it? Thank you for your consideration!

Baltimore County Maryland wildlife holes under crabapple trees

1 Response

It is quite difficult to tell exactly what or who you have here.
How old are those trees? Is the area low and wet?
From just the bases and the leaning of some of them, we wonder if they are stressed, either by the site (soil, water etc) or the tunneling itself.

We can't tell how large the holes are, but they are made by some sort of wildlife. The animal that made them might not even be there anymore, but other animals may move into them. In any case, they are used for shelter, safety, breeding, feeding or movement to over areas, depending on what species.
Some of the possibilities are here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/nuisance-wildlife
If you click on the names you can read more about them.

If it bothers you, we suggest filling the holes with soil and seeing what happens. If they are active, they will empty again.

Putting up a wildlife camera and/or watching the area closely at dawn and dusk would be helpful to see who is there. You could also try putting out some flour on the ground to catch tracks.

Take a look at our Nuisance Wildlife publication here, which contains a toll-free number to the Wildlife Information Hotline run by the Department of Natural Resources, who can also help you not only identify, but to possibly control by trapping: